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tv   Meet the Author  BBC News  April 13, 2017 8:45pm-9:01pm BST

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exact replica of history. this is an exact replica of the first ever vessel to navigate around the world successfully. in 1519, it set off from seville. when it returns three years later, only 18 of the 43 crew had made it back. and the plan is, after being paraded down the times, it will be going off to places like portugal, boston, bermuda and canada. also, local residents have been encouraged to ta ke residents have been encouraged to take part as well. more than 100 young people will be working on some of these ships as crew members. a lot of them for their first time out at sea. it's going to be interesting, because a few of them did not even know that ships don't have a wife i. with me now is somebody from greenwich council. as well as taking some amazing pictures and seeing some amazing things, it is really a chance to teach people about navigational history? absolutely. we are really proud in greenwich that we have the longest river front of any london borough, a really unique history in terms of the river. and what this is about is
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providing opportunities to families and residents and people from across london over the weekend, to come down. this is the biggest event happening in london over the easter weekend. what it really showcases is how we are regenerating our riverfront. we have had a lot of industry for here... everybody stay calm, i'm taking over this interview! as luck would have it, we're out of time. the time has gone?! where has the time gone?! i'm going to make you walk the plank for that! not good! with easter fast approaching, for some, thoughts are turning to demolishing chocolate eggs. for most people, they don't last more than a few minutes, in some cases maybe a day or two. but could you leave them untouched for nearly a century? well, someone has, and this weekend they're going on show at york castle museum. a short time ago i caught up with richard saward, the head of visitor experience at york castle museum, who told me
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more about these rare eggs. we believe these date from the 19205, which makes them about 90 yea rs 19205, which makes them about 90 years old. how they were able to resist it for 90 years, i don't know. they were made in york. the one on the right is from rowntree's, and a one on the left from terry sheila. both of them, york companies, which is why we have got them here at the york castle museum. and they have never been unwrapped? they have never been unwrapped. the one from terry's has a sad story. it was bought for a little boy, and u nfortu nately was bought for a little boy, and unfortunately back in the 19205, with life expectancy, he died before he was able to receive the egg, so perhaps that is why it was never opened. so you put them on display and people marvel at the age of them and people marvel at the age of them and might spectator as to what they might taste like? yes, they will be
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on display all weekend at the york castle museum. they have been preserved, because chocolate has a fairly high fat content. but we would not recommend testing them to see what they taste like. is it milk chocolate or dark? i believe they're both milk chocolate. and have they got anything inside them spasmodic date easter extends to have? yes, they do. i am not going to shake them but they do rattle slightly. some small bits of chocolate in them. so we know there is something there but we don't want to get too close ? there but we don't want to get too close? that's absolutely correct. now, it's time for meet the author. oklahoma in the 19205 and the true story of a murder conspiracy that absorbed and shocked america, and epitomised the darker side of the wild west and all its lingering lawlessness. native americans being herded into reservations and dismissed as inferior red indians. then the oil gushes sprouting
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out of the prairies and changing everything. and eventually, a conspiracy fuelled by greed and jealousy that became one of the obsessions of the young j edgar hoover and his new fbi. david grann‘s book killers of the flower moon is a trip into the story of the osage people, a journey into a part of american‘s past that's closer than we sometimes think. welcome. david, this is a fabulous melodrama, but it's also a human story that is full of tragedy. when you lifted the lid on this series of murders in oklahoma in the early ‘205, apart from knowing you'd stumbled
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across a wonderful story, how did it affect you? i've written so many stories, this was the one that was probably the most emotionally draining. i worked on it for nearly half a decade, and i began to collect pictures, photographs, of the victims. and i would keep those photographs by my desk as i worked on the project. and the real tragedy was, as i began the project, i thought there were, you know, so many victims, a dozen, and then a dozen grew to two dozen, and by the end of the project i was looking at scores of victims who were caught up in this incredibly sinister conspiracy. and of course, they were native americans. yes. red indians, as we grew up to call them in an earlier age. and they faced the most terrible problems in their lives. the land was removed, the discrimination was at a level that we can barely imagine. yes.
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and then they discovered the black oil was coming up through their land and they became rich. the way the story begins its extraordinary, it takes you to another planet. yes. i mean, it's amazing. so, the osage suffered the same fate as so many native american communities and tribes and nations in the united states, which is that they were driven off their land. they once controlled most of the midwest. thomasjefferson referred to them as "that great nation". and then within a few years, they had to cede millions and millions of acres. and eventually they were driven to this little corner of north—east oklahoma. they went there because they thought the land was rocky and infertile and they said the white men will finally leave us alone. so they go there, and lo and behold they're sitting on some of the largest deposits of oil in the world. and overnight, they became millionaires. they became the richest people per capita, not only in the united states, but in the world. and they lived in mansions. it was said at the time that where each american might own one car, each osage owned 11 cars! and the car had come, we're
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in the 20th century in this story, but it's the wild west! it is the last remnants of the wild west. it's lawless, it's outlaws... power hungry... pistol shooters... and because of the oil, this area drew, it was like a magnet for every kind of outlaw. getty arrived on the train. all the great oil men made their fortune in the osage. getty... all the great names we associate with oil barons, they all made their fortune in the osage. and in the midst of it, you tell the story of a real set of murders, a conspiracy, what we would now call a cover—up yes. and a target for the nascent fbi, hoover the new director sitting in washington, sending his men in undercover to try to sort this out. yes. i mean, it's a story that's, it's better than fiction. yeah, it is crazier than fiction. it's hard to believe.
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what's amazing about this story is it has been almost excised from history, partly because of racial prejudice. i had known nothing about this story when i started writing it. and yet it was huge. across america. it was big in its day, yeah. it was big in its day. it became the nascent fbi's first major homicide case. it became] edgar hoover at age 29 doing hisjob, believe it or not, insecure about his security and holding onto hisjob. it became his first big case. and after they badly bungled the case, and, just to give one example of that, they recruited an outlaw, appropriately named blackey, to go in undercover to use as an informant. instead, he slips away, robs a bank and kills a police officer. j edgar hoover is sitting in washington petrified that he might actually lose his job, that his dreams of a bureaucratic empire might end. he turns the case over to an old frontier lawman, an agent named tom white. tom white puts together an undercover team and it is like something out of oceans 11. texas rangers come in. yeah, texas rangers. they have one guy pose as an insurance salesman. he used to sell insurance.
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he actually opens an insurance store in town. he's selling real policies. the most amazing thing is, too, that the undercover team included an american indian agent, and this was remarkable, because there was so much prejudice at the time, he was probably the only american indian or native american in the bureau at the time. and in the midst of this, you uncoverfor us a conspiracy, the nature of which we won't reveal because it would spoil it for readers, and subsequently a sensational trial. that i think goes deep into the american story in the sense that you can see through this prism, with all its melodrama and bloodstained detail, the emergence of a real system of laws and order. yes. in the 19205 — it took that long. yes — this was really the emergence of what i would call professionalism, an effort to professionalise law enforcement.
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one of the things that shocked me was just how lawless the country was, how untrained sheriff's office was, and how widespread corruption was. and so this was an attempt to professionalise the art of detection. the amazing thing about tom white is, he began his career riding on a horse when justice was meted out by the end of a barrel ofa gun, and by the 19205, when he's working this case, he's wearing a suit and a fedora, trying to work out how to study fingerprints, handwriting analysis, and he has to file paperwork, which he can't stand. this is a magical story. but as you said when we began, it's also a very painful story. yeah. what did you learn about your country in the 19205 that you hadn't really thought of? you know, i was shocked, even though you grow up hearing about racial prejudice, the degree of racial prejudice that allowed these crimes to go on. these were crimes of greed and avarice, but they were carried
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out without consciousness, because the targets and the victims were native americans. and in their minds, and many of the killers, these were seen as sub—humans. and because of that, these crimes are covered up. i guess the thing that shocked me most is, we tend to think about murder stories with a singular evilforce, right? you have one really bad man, and the whole kind of concept of a mystery, both in fiction and in nonfiction, is, you capture that bad man, you expunge it and you feel better about society. what happens when you have a crime story where the whole of white society, the whole town, is possibly complicit in it? finally, how have the osage people that you've been in touch with reacted to the telling of the story, and the fact that it will now be read by millions of people? yeah, i mean, i didn't know when i began the project how people
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would receive me, and the desire to tell the story, and i was struck that the osage were remarkably generous, because they carried this story inside them for so many years. and so for them, i think, the chance to share the story, that it might receive its place in history and a wider audience, at least so far, my experience has been extremely positive. david grann, author of killers of the flower moon, thank you very much. thank you so much. the weather is looking pretty mixed over the easter weekend. tomorrow, there's a few more showers on the way. but overall, this is the summary way. but overall, this is the summary for the next few days. so, a bit of everything on the way. the satellite picture from earlier on shows quite a bit of cloud across
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the uk, and there is more coming in off the atlantic. some clear spells, particularly across some of these southern areas in the early hours of good friday. it's not going to be a particularly cold night. good friday itself, thicker cloud across the central swathe of the uk. the best of the weather across the south, but also some sunny spells expected across scotland. good friday evening, little change. hello, i'm ros atkins, this is outside source. donald trump accused bashar al—assad of using chemical weapons — and called him a butcher. today — syria's president responded. their west, mainly the united states, is hand in glove with the terrorists, they fabricated the
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entire story. this means the governments of america, russia and syria all have completely different explanations of what happened last week. we'll go through what we can say with any certainty. this is america's most powerful non—nuclear bomb being tested in 2003. today they used it for the first time ever — in afghanistan. a european court has ruled there were serious failings in russia's handling of the beslan school siege in 2004. over 300 people died. we'll hear russia's response. we'll hear from our correspondent in istanbul ahead of the turkish
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